The New Zealand Navy’s replenishment tanker HMNZS ENDEAVOUR has just finished providing approximately 70,000 litres of diesel fuel to the Cook Islands in response to the South Pacific country’s request for assistance.
Commander Keith Robb, ENDEAVOUR’s Commanding Officer, said the fuel supplies will keep power generators humming at Nassau, Pukapuka and Penrhyn Islands in the Northern Cook Islands. “The New Zealand Government has provided this assistance following the recent disruptions to the fuel delivery supply to the Cook Islands.”
“While supplying this amount is not a large amount for ENDEAVOUR, which can carry over 6,000,000 litres, it will keep the Islands generators going for at least three months which is a significant contribution,” Commander Robb explained.
The mission, arranged in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was ENDEAVOUR’s first to the Pacific this year. It provided 3,800 litres of diesel fuel to Nassau, 6000 litres to Pukapuka and 60,000 litres to Penrhyn Island.
During the first day of the Penryhn Island mission local boats painstakingly shuttled fuel to the island drum by drum with the assistance of nearly every boat on the atoll after the Island vessel that was supposed to unload the fuel broke down, “It was a long hard day for all involved, but the people of Penrhyn turned out in force with boats and empty fuel drums to help us help them. We still managed to move 28,000 litres which is quite an achievement” reported Commander Robb.
For the second day ENDEAVOUR was able to call on the assistance of the ANZAC-class frigate HMNZS TE KAHA and HMAS DARWIN the Royal Australian Navy’s guided missile frigate, whose presence allowed four rigid hull inflatable boats and two helicopters to move a further 32,000 litres.
ENDEAVOUR, TE KAHA and DARWIN were sailing together to Hawaii to take part in the Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 when they were diverted to go to the aid of the Island.
Around 25,000 personnel from 22 nations, more than 200 aircraft, 42 surface ships and six submarines will take part in the biennial RIMPAC, which is scheduled from 27 June to 7 August. TE KAHA, ENDEAVOUR, the Operational Diving Team and the Mine Counter Measures Team, a Rifle Platoon from 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion, and a number of headquarters staff will also take part in the exercise.
Naval Today Staff , June 21, 2012; Image: New Zealand Navy